Hiking alone: Snowdon and Crib Goch in 1994, Great End and Eskdale in 1996

2/11/94 Snowdon via Crib Goch, alone

I left Derby at 6.25a.m and parked up at the Pen-y-pass at 950a.m, three hours actual driving time for 149 miles. There were helicopters much in evidence as set off up the Pyg track in brand-new boots. Rain at the col stopped as I got higher, finding the new boots slightly stiff. I met four fellows withdrawing – it was very windy indeed.

I got up on top and along Crib Goch, all alone in the wind. Up and over clouded Crib-y-ddysgyl and up the shoulder onto the summit of Yr Wyddfa by 12.30p.m for lunch. I withdrew down the Miners track, the initial part of the route seeming reminiscent of the Dimrill Stair in Tolkien. There were several interesting mines on the way. Got to the car at 3p.m and drove home A55/A51/A500/A50/A516, with the coast road (the A55) particularly excellent, 50 miles in 48 minutes. [2022: Not sure I’d risk going that fast on the A55 today, with the North Wales police being as punchy as they have been in the last 10 years].

March 1996: Great End and Eskdale, alone, winter conditions

From Seathwaite Borrowdale, I hiked in rainy conditions up past Stockley Bridge. On the tops though, winter conditions prevailed. I had brought no ice-axe. I got frightfully lost in the mist and snow and howling wind, around Esk Hause. I spent what seemed like an age descending gingerly into Eskdale over wet rock and slippery grass. An accident whilst alone at this remotest of valley heads, was unthinkable.

Eskdale in the pouring rain was well worth the effort. Truly magnificent and utterly wild. I camped at a bend in the river just before the last big falls above lower Eskdale. I saw no-one at all. This was why I came here.

Next day the walk out from my camp site to Fell Foot at the bottom of the Hard Knott Pass, took over an hour. I passed some beautiful waterfalls and deep, clear pools of rare beauty. These pools are rarely seen and never swam in, owing to their distance from the beaten track. My feet were wet and ruined. I could not hope to walk out over the col to the Burnmoor Tarn and then over Styhead back to the car. I took cab round the side of the Lakes which cost £40. [This seems to me to be the time I was in Whitehaven or Workington on a rainy afternoon.]